Retrospection and the Year Ahead

I’ve just come through a really heavy shooting season, and like any business owner, I don’t take downtime but turn my attention to post game analysis. What could we have done better? What things need to be put in place to make systems run more smoothly next year? Is there an area of my work that needs improvement? What went well? What did not?

While we all think about technique, tech talk, business, and how to work with dancers, we are not always thinking about what can re-generate us during the slammed season. Being both creative and business-driven is so much harder than most realize. How do you run numbers, work the sales, take care of clients, handle post production, market your business, pay your vendors, shoot shoot shoot and still have time to find inspiration and actually be creative?

I’m not going to lie. In this past season, there were times where I was disappointed in myself. There were many moments where I didn’t feel I brought my full creativity to the shoots, that I was just phoning it in, relying on ‘muscle memory,’ regurgitating stuff I’d done before. Of course, this was not in every shoot, and maybe did not even occur half as often as I think. I know my clients were happy, very much so. But still, I’m left with the feeling that I could have done more and can still do more.

Well, what happened? I was tired, almost over-booked. We changed studio managers mid way through the season and got a couple of really big jobs thrown into the mix. It’s to be expected, you say? Rachel, give yourself a break, you say? Here’s where I come back with a resounding NO.

There are those who keep going when it gets tough, keep pressing and striving for more, better, bigger, and then there are those who are content with where they are. I am in the first group, and if you are reading this, I bet you are too.

So, what will you do differently this year, what will you shift/change/do to keep the creativity going even when you feel tapped out?

I can tell you what we are doing at my studio. We are scheduling myself a half day off each week, without my kids, where I can go to the bookstore or museum and galleries or a show, to help fill up my bank of ideas. We are changing our packaging structures and looking to expand with more full time people. I’m working on a new body of work to go after even more commercial opportunities.  But most importantly, I’m trying to be clear with myself and the universe on what I want, allowing it to come into my space.

What will you do? Do you need a day off each week? Do you need to finally upgrade your gear or hire a bookkeeper to give you more time or less aggravation? Do you need to try to shoot better dancers and build your portfolio?

If it’s more training you need, we’ve got new videos up on the site for you to check out, or you can find out about our workshops here. If it’s a massive explosion you are looking for in your dance photography, we have two spots left in our 2-year curriculum. Don’t wait. Email or call today to get more information.

3 thoughts on “Retrospection and the Year Ahead

  1. Thank you for this great post! I have felt overwhelmed the last few months and am struggling to stay motivated and creative. Juggling being a single mum, studying photography at university and trying to keep up with personal projects has definitely led me to forget about myself! After reading this, I’m going to plan a half day to myself to sit and think about what I need to do to move forward.

    Thank you!

    • The 2 year curriculum is a comprehensive 2 year course designed to have you develop into the go-to dance photographer in your area. It is by invitation only, but if you are interested, please feel free to email info@rachelneville.com for information, and we’ll have a look at your work. Thank you! –Rachel

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